Enter your text here...There’s no doubt that kids who engage in physical activity before school have a leg up on kids who don’t engage in physical activity. Studies have shown that exercise before school improves concentration as well as grades and test scores, but the benefits reach far beyond academia. You know that incorporating exercise at least three times per week has proven to provide mental health benefits, such as deeper social connections and maintaining a positive life outlook.
Other improvements the studies observed include:
- Motor skill development
- Reduced stress
- Higher self-esteem
- Improved perception of having a healthy lifestyle
- Reduced healthcare costs
The positives far outweigh any negatives, but it’s still important to consider programs that are both feasible and sustainable, yet flexible enough to accommodate differing numbers of children as they arrive at school or their before-school program. Full schedules after school for kids who have external art lessons, music lessons, or other commitments make before-school opportunities even more valuable.
Consider these five before-school fitness ideas that work.
Create a Specialty Club
Skillastics® offers Digital Specialty Programming via our 30-day specialty content programming with UNLIMITED use. Want to start a Kickboxing Club? Folklorico Club? Pilates or Yoga? All you have to do is share your screen–remotely, or via on-site projections on a big screen, gym wall, or classroom whiteboard. The best part about this programming is that kids can excel at their own pace. Your club can have kids who are in the program for the first time, partnering alongside seasoned veterans who’ve used it before. That gives you a great opportunity to involve those who’ve used it before, and give them a chance to display their natural leadership abilities as they demonstrate what they’ve already learned to other club members. And as kids excel together in their activity of choice, they’ll enjoy that camaraderie from other students in the club.
Focus on Whole Health
Childhood anxiety is at an all-time high, but we know mental health contributes to the overall fitness of a child. What if you could focus on the whole student, helping them to create a relaxed mind, starting their day stress-free? Skillastics® offers an amazing new program that educates children on internal topics like gratitude, meditation, personal awareness, self-discipline, and accountability through journaling, movement, and meditation. Older kids can benefit as well, with additional topics on anxiety management and SEL. When kids can start their day calmly, that peacefulness can sustain them all day long.
Build a TeamYou can easily use the Skillastics® Afterschool Package in your before-school lesson plans. Each cooperative activity incorporates an associated teamwork or leadership activity that is tied to a character trait such as compassion, sportsmanship, or respect. The lesson plan manual helps your staff associate the activities to SEL behaviors, and helps kids with real-life application. Kids form teams of all ages and skill levels, because our programs level the playing field and allow all kids to have a chance to participate, not just the most athletic.
Make It FlexibleWhile some school districts are fully in-house, others are remote, and yet others are hybrid or quarantine kids on a case-by-case basis. But whether a child is in person at school or remote at home, they still have physical education needs, and if able, should still have access to those same crucial PE programs. Understanding that physical activity affects many other aspects of the child’s academic and social development is a great motivator to help parents keep those physical activity plans on their family schedule. With Digital Specialty Programming, kids can join in remotely via Zoom or Google Meets, or Microsoft Teams.
Skillastics® offers activity kits that provide everything you need to organize, engage, and motivate children in the physical activity setting. Because these kits include set up instructions, materials and equipment for each of the activities, you can easily pull out just what you need to plan for one day, or 100. Skillastics® kits offer a huge return on investment as they are reusable, scalable, and customizable for the experienced user or the first-day PE substitute. Educators can choose one activity or several smaller ones via as Fitness Skillastics for younger kids, or Fitness Extreme Skillastics for Middle & High School Students.
Whether your before-school fitness needs involve clubs, mindfulness and self-care, flexible remote options, teams of all athletic abilities, or scalable systems, the key is just pick one and get started! The lasting benefits of carving this block of time out first thing sets every child up for success not just for today, but for their long-term future.